I met Daniel Ward at a Wine Country Ukulele Festival where he was an instructor a few years ago. As an instructor Daniel is wonderfully talented. He takes a genuine interest in every participant and can tailor a lesson on-the-fly to everyone's benefit. He can read a room. His virtuosity as a player is undeniable and his enthusiasm infectious.
Later I got to spend more time with Daniel at weeklong California Coast Music Camps (CCMC) in the Sierra Nevada mountains. We talked ukuleles a lot and he was always willing to try out my latest efforts to give me useful feedback for improving future builds.
Daniel told me once that he wished he had a cedar and rosewood ukulele that he could use for his flamenco repertoire. It turns out that I had such an instrument. The only thing I had to do to make it better for flamenco was to flatten the fretboard and refret it.
In 2019 our local Ukiah Uke Tones club wanted to put on a festival at Mendocino College. So we found a date when Daniel and Heidi Swedberg could be the main presenters. He used this ukulele for instruction as well as an evening performance.
Daniel's ukulele has a western red cedar top with African blackwood back and sides. The neck is Honduran mahogany. Fretboard, binding and saddle are ebony. The fret markers are Gonçalo Alves with 6020 aluminum. Tuners are 4:1 Gotoh UPTs and frets are Evo Gold.
Daniel has found that his Ken Franklin Ukulele can also be quite versatile. For the Ukulele Magazine Spring 2020 article and video on alternate tunings he has it strung with Craig Chee's GHS reentrant baritone strings. Look for it at the end of the video.
Ken Franklin builds magic. His instruments excel in sound, are built with precision on every level, and look unbelievably special every time. -Daniel Ward